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23 December 2008, 19:44

Rails and Merb to merge for Rails 3

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With the words "It’s Christmas, baby, and do we have a present for you.", David Heinemeier Hansson announced that the Merb and Rails developers were merging their efforts for Rails 3. Yehuda Katz, lead developer of Merb simultaneously made the announcement to the Merb community saying of the move, "Today is a fairly momentous day in the history of Ruby web frameworks."

Merb started two years ago as lightweight framework to serve ERB templates from Ruby applications and has established itself as an alternative to Rails within the Ruby community. The Merb developers focussed on an agnostic framework, not tied to any particular database, object mapper or Javascript libraries.

The competition between the two frameworks has led to testy relations between the developer communities, making the announcement all the more surprising. A "plaque page" has been erected on the site to celebrate the coming together.

Hansson expanded on the plan for Rails 3 in his posting, explaining how the move will not be a big bang rewrite of Rails, but will see the merging of code and ideas from the Merb developers to bring a more modular Rails framework, while maintaining Rails' ability to act as an easy-to-generate full web stack. Performance optimisations from the Merb developers, Javascript framework agnosticism and a rigorous API to allow Rails plugins to be more tolerant of updates to Rails are also on the agenda for Rails 3.

Rails 2.3 is "just around the corner" according to Hansson who called it "a blockbuster release packed with goodies". Once that is out, development effort will switch to Rails 3 with a hope to have "at least a beta" out in time for Railsconf 2009 in May.


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